Spare a thought for Mr. Nice Guy!


At the risk of being silenced forever, I have decided to break my silence. Siddhartha Vaidhyanathan’s well-written article on the topic of Rahul Dravid’s exclusion got me going. The unceremonious dumping of Rahul Dravid, in my opinion, rates as the ugliest and sickest of all decision making by the clowns at BCCI inclusive of the selectors. It seems most certain to me that Dravid has been made a scapegoat, the most dispensable as Vaidhyanathan puts it; after all he is the Mr. Nice Guy in the team. Imagine the hue and cry that would have been caused if say, Ganguly or Tendulkar were dealt with in the same manner.

Agreed, Tendulkar has been in great winning form, and Ganguly has taken care of his own well being by scoring runs independent of the team’s resulting outcome. And Dravid’s average of 8 in the last 10 odd games does not help much in his case. But the number of houses that would be brought to ground, the number of trees destroyed as a result of all the burnt posters, and health care costs associated with sore throats caused by all the screaming, would have meant that Tendulkar and Ganguly be reinstated with no delay. Alas, Dravid does not carry the same clout, or should I say, not appropriately connected to the above and underworld kingmakers. Maybe it has something to do with him being from the South (being Marathi does not help if you are not domiciled in and around Mumbai!).

The jury is still out for me if the seniors need to continue playing the one day version of the game. But as many have wisely said on this blog, we cannot afford to lose the three of them at the same time. They have to phase themselves out overtime, the keyword there is “themselves”. They are intelligent men capable of making responsible and mature decisions. The least that the selectors could have done is to sit down with the three of them, involve them in the decision making, and appropriately plan their departure in a manner that is right for the nation and befitting their contribution. I must have been dreaming, to expect anything closely resembling such an approach is the last thing that one could expect from these bunch of jokers. How can Mr. Vengsarkar get away with a mere, “he has been rested” statement on such a significant decision? I don’t about the readers on this blog, but this has left me fuming!

– Srikanth

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27 responses to “Spare a thought for Mr. Nice Guy!

  1. Srikanth,

    I agree with you. The singling out of Rahul Dravid for the ‘chop’ — the spin on it is ‘resting’ — is nothing short of crazy. At a time like this, with a meaningless ODI series against Pakistan in the offing, only three decisions should have been available, in my opinion: (a) “Rest” ALL of Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly or (b) Play “ALL” of Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly, (c) Have a firm, grounded, implementable and well-thought-out policy of rotating Dravid-Tendulkar-Ganguly.

    Instead, we have a half-baked, a bet-each-way selection that defies belief and creates outrage in me.

    This singling out of Dravid is the sort of thing that convinces me that the BCCI establishment does everything it can to stop the Indian team from winning.

    — Mohan

  2. Srikanth

    Having said that, I don’t agree with Siddhartha Vaidhyanathan’s comment on team-balance vis-a-vis ‘openers’. He makes a comment about the lack of team-balance because the team contains 5 openers! Opening in ODIs is a bit of a furphy. Yes, it has Ganguly, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir and Uthappa who are capable of opening in ODIs. Let’s not forget that Praveen Kumar has also opened in ODIs and Irfan Pathan has too! The batting position in ODIs is a bit of a nonsense and it is about time the media in India got thier heads around this… Don’t know if you agree with this point…

    Mohan

  3. Indian selection has a habit of embarrassing former test captains – Venkatraghavan was a captain/leader for a test team and for the next match Venkatraghavan was the 12th man !

    Rahul Dravid and some other players could have been given rested for the whole or part of the Australia one-day series to identify young talent.

  4. We are all flipping over nothing.

    The selection was for the 1 st two ODI’s.

    Dravid will be back.

    But let us see whether the selectors have the spine to rest Ganguly next.

  5. But that is precisely what we are flipping over Ottayan. There appears to be no long-term vision or strategy. A selection policy that last 2 games is myopic…

  6. And moreover, Ottayan, you and I are second-guessing the very existence of a selection policy! I personally doubt if one exists.

  7. Aren’t we forgetting that SRT and SG were also “rested” for the Bangladesh ODI series earlier in the year? Some of the reactions seem extreme – Cricinfo has this habit of raking up issues without presenting the full truth. It seems to me that Cricinfo always harps about the seniors bringing the ODI team down with their fielding but then cry fowl when it is Dravid that is “rested”. I don’t remember them writing anything like this when SRT and SG were “rested” against BD.

    While I don’t agree with age being a criterion for selection and agree with the fact that the SRT, SG and RD have served Indian team long enough and with glory that they need to be given a the respect, talks of calling this “rest” for Dravid being an ultimate one in ODIs is premature. Vengsarkar has been baiting Dravid for long is something I again agree – but let us wait and see if Dravid has been rested for good before we call for the selectors’ heads.

    Mohan, selecting players for the first two games is a luxury one gets only when playing home matches. We can use this opportunity to look at personnel who can be selected for the big series down under. Why not use it now?

  8. Prabhu

    The right way to implement a rotation policy in a home series, in my view, would be like how Australia. They announced clearly at the start of the series that they would be resting certain players just after their “home games”. So, McGrath was rested after a Sydney game, Gilchrist after a Perth game, Ponting after a Hobart game, etc. They then backed this up with a XV as well as a pool of other players who would be drafted in when a specific rotation kicks in.

    That calls for a vision/foresight and then planning as well as operational strategy can fall in line with that. Today we are presented with no other options but to second guess a sorry bunch of people. These same selectors indicated that there would be a rotation policy prior to the Australian series. The only thing that rotated was the roulette wheel that paid the selectors a hefty sum of money…

    M

  9. The decision to drop Rahul left me fuming… I can’t understand the fact that our team has no place to accommodate a player of Dravid’s calibre !

    Just look at the reasons given:
    1. Rest – Hah ! Who believes this ?
    2. One-dimensional – What does the chief selector thinks of himself ?
    3. Poor fielding – AFAIK, he is our best in the slip cordon.
    4.Giving youngsters a chance – Does our team contain 15 guys above 30 ? Again, only Dravid, Sachin and Sourav are above 30 atleast among batsman. Are 8 places not enough for youngsters ?

    Rahul is THE most technically sound batsman in the side, i would even daresay in the entire cricketing history.. And no youngster could ever possibly dream of replacing the WALL who has served the country for so long with some extra-ordinary performances as a batsman, as a keeper and as a skipper !

  10. Mohan, I completely agree on your views with respect to the opening slot. I remember writing earlier on this blog as to how irrelevant batting orders are in ODIs.

    I must admit that I focused solely on the RD issues in Siddhartha’s article and spurred by that.
    Srikanth

  11. Well said, Srikanth and I’m fuming as well. Dropping Dravid seems like a cross between a knee-jerk reaction and the ever-stinky BCCI politics. After all, Dravid’s avg in the recently concluded series against Aus might have looked different if it weren’t for Daar’s lbw and unfortunately being caught inches from the boundary line.

  12. OK so they dropped/rested Dravid. But picking Sehwag???? What has he done to get picked? Atleast Badrinath should have been retained instead of Sehwag. This is just Vengsarkar’s way of getting back at Dravid for chucking the captaincy.

  13. Good point sanjaysub,

    Sehwag’s record in one-days is not that good.

    Rahul Dravid called up Sharad Pawar and did not inform Vengaya sarkar. So, he has a score to settle with Rahul Dravid.

  14. The South zone selector is also responsible for not supporting a place for Badrinath.

    Secondly, even by Vengsarkar rules on his interview – we need to more time than failures in 5 matches – then, Dinesh karthik should be in the side, since he failed in 2 – 3 matches.

    VB Chandrasekar would have done a better job of pushing some of these players.

  15. The top three scorers in the Challenger trophy (Raina, Karthik and Badrinath) do not find a place in the side. Two of them do not find a mention as the future of Indian cricket in Vengsarkar’s interview. The only bowler who looked decent amongst an ordinary set of bowlers during the series, Joginder Sharma, was pipped by an overrated P. Kumar.

  16. gnbmdr said, “The South zone selector is also responsible for not supporting a place for Badrinath.”

    This is exactly what is wrong with Indian cricket.

  17. Good point.

    Suresh Raina has had a consistent series. KKD scores 116 n.o in the finals and they are not in the side.

    Vengasarkar is baffling at best in his interview.

  18. mohankaus,

    Zonal wars are the reality.

    Are you as tough on VengaSarakar with all his biases or insipid interviews or when he is pushing West Zone players.

  19. Dravid failed to score runs–he was pathetic in his technique in the last match he played against the Aussies—they made a blunder sending him in instead of Uththappa or Dhoni at that point–Dravid slowed the game, the bowlers got on top and the Aussies won—it is only a game–Selectors have a job to do—Dravid was silly enough to resign from captaincy–he hasn’t heard of the cliche,” NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK–let us move on–taking the dog out this morning, the SUN did come UP from the EAST–and it will go DOWN in the WEST this evening–SUCH IS LIFE!

  20. And exactly what is wrong with Rahul being dropped in ODIs?

    RD is the batting mainstay in Test Cricket for India and it has been a bloody while since he scored a hundred in that format of the game ( discounting Bangladesh).

    His batting is out of sorts and ODIs are hardly the place for him to get his batting form back.

    I would rather he misses all the Pak ODIs and instead plays the first two Ranji games scheduled for Karnataka..

    A couple of big double hundreds should not do the bating confidence any harm.

    I will be devastated that he plays the remaining three ODIs, does not get into any batting form and is found wanting in the test series against Pakistan because that will have a bearing on the Oz tour.

  21. Homer,

    If you read this blog, we have suggested the same thing that you have. I feel that, with a view to the big series coming up against Pakistan and Australia all three (Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid) should have been “rested” and asked to play the two Ranji games. S. Badrinath for Tendulkar and Suresh Raina for Ganguly would have made more sense! It is not the “resting” of Dravid which has my eyebrows up. It is the simultaneous non-resting of Ganguly and Tendulkar that has me (at least) questioning motives.

    — Mohan

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  23. Well, look at the furore at Dravid’s resting here. I will bet my last penny these same writers never said a word when Sourav and Sachin were similarly “rested” for Bangladesh… 🙂

    As for Cricinfo, expecting it to be even handed vis-a-vis Dravid is like expecting Narendra Modi to worship in a mosque. The cricinfo Fawning Four (Sambit Bal, Dileep P, Sid Vaidyanathan, and Anand Vasu have long records of bias towards Dravid and Chappell. Nothing surprising that two of them have come up with articles decrying Dravid’s resting. Actually their biggest cock-up was putting all their eggs in the Dravid-Chappell basket completely. They have always ostracised Sourav, but under the influence of the Gruesome Guru Greg, they went after Tendulkar as well. Now Dravid is gone, Sourav doesn’t speak with them, Dhoni has no relationship. Cricinfo is based in Bangalorer with no media access to most of the cricketers. Poor sods.

    It is therefore in their interest to try and raise a ruckus favouring Dravid. Expect more articles like these. Two of the Fawning Four haven’t written yet!

  24. Shan,

    “…these same writers never said a word when Sourav and Sachin were similarly “rested” for Bangladesh…”

    Playing Bangladesh is not the same as playing Pakistan (with due respect to the Bangladeshi team). Although, I’m sure they would have screamed had India performed badly in Bangladesh.

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  26. This is what I said earlier:

    “Two of the Fawning Four haven’t written yet!”

    Make that one now. Today we have Dileep Premachandran writing his gushing about Dravid article. What a coordinated campaign. Wonder if Dravid has retained Cricinfo as his PR firm!

    Three done. One (the most moderate one) remains…

    What are the odds that Siddharth will be forced by the seniors to write one now?

  27. Shan, my view is that conspiracy theories sound nice only in theory. When the confluence of conspiracies becomes a reality, it is time to look at the mirror and take stock. If everyone is wrong and you are the only one that is right, some rights may well be wrong!

    I am not fussed either way. I do believe Dravid could have been dropped, but I continue to maintain that this whole thing has not been conducted in a planned manner.

    BTW, this blogs’ support for Ganguly — and mine, in particular — is and has been solid in the past. Continues to be. You only need to read our past writings, if you have either the time or the patience or the inclination. It would have been nice if you had read our postings on Ganguly before you challenged us. Having said that, I have no problems with you looking a bit silly, particularly as you are insisting on receiving that dubious recognition! 🙂

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